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Freeman, E.P. (2011). Reminiscences of a Good Man. Psychoanal. Rev., 98(2):253-259.

(2011). Psychoanalytic Review, 98(2):253-259

Reminiscences of a Good Man

Erika Padan Freeman, Ph.D.

Theodor Reik was a protégé of Sigmund Freud and one of the founding brothers of psychoanalysis, along with Carl Jung, Alfed Adler, et al., the founding father of psychoanalysis being Freud. Unlike the others, Reik never broke with Freud.

Theodor Reik wrote 28 books by himself, and one with me. Why with me? Well, in part because all great and famous men and women are accessible, care about people, and are interested in people—in who they are, what they care about. It is only the merely famous who care about their fame and fortune, because they are inauthentic and climbers, much like Friedrich Schiller's comment1 in Maria Stuart: “The iron pot wants to be pulled out of the fire by a silverstone, to deem himself a silver pot.” And that's why I met Dr. Reik. I was just another young analyst attending his presentation on Jewish Wit. A mutual friend invited me to the usual after-party, where I fell into a long converstion with Dr. Reik.

The things he said were so interesting, and while not all of of them deserved a whole book, I thought those thoughts and observations should be preserved because although we learn the wisdom communicated by the person who writes the book, we know the author only by a façade, the intellectual exercise of writing the book. One never has the sense of the texture of the person, what it's like to be with him or her, how that individual thinks, what the sympatisch thread is that's between the person and the way he or she expresses ideas.

The next day I decided that there really ought to be some way in which one could preserve the feeling, the ambiance, the back and forth kind of Ping-Pong of talking to such a man. I was so impressed, I hardly knew what I had said. Luckily he did most of the talking. I decided I would call and make an appointment.

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